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  5. The Importance of the Fada


The Importance of the Fada

Y'all know that little accent mark over vowels? Think it makes no difference whether you type it or leave it out? Think again. Here's a list of words that can change based on the fada.

Warning: May contain adult language, as one mistake leads to a cuss word.


August 30, 2014



Nice chart! We were between two minds as to whether learners should lose a heart for a misplaced fada in the course; we opted for the present system for fear that being too strict would excessively tip the experience away from being fun. Thoughts?


Thank you, first of all. I saw it on Facebook a while back, and thought it really stressed it well. Except then one I saw used another word for "caca".

I think it should depend. If it's critical to the meaning of a word, yes, they should. (So, for example, leaving it off cáca would be wrong) Get those habits ingrained early. But if it's a word where the fada really doesn't reflect a change in meaning and is only there for pronunciation, perhaps be more lenient.

Though I will say my Spanish writing is awful because I don't use accents because they don't count them wrong, so it might be for the best to take a heart regardless and stress proper spelling, etc.


In these early stages, I've really appreciated that a missed fada doesn't lose a heart. But now I'm a little way in, and the spelling is no longer so overwhelming, I'm feeling more comfortable about paying attention to them as well. I'd suggest that if it were possible to make them count for hearts part way though, that might be a happy medium—because obviously they are there for a reason:-) (Although, having said that, I'm pretty sure accents don't lose a heart in French either... mind you, in that case it's not only if there's an accent, it's also about which one it is... Irish is so much easier that way:-) )


It's a pity that there isn't a way to opt in to a stricter thing on the fada - so if you're going through the tree for the first time and you want basic fluency, you aren't penalized but the option exists to make it tougher if you want/need it to.


I think the mistake should always be pointed out but it would be enough to say "you have a typo" and not lose any hearts over it. I do the French course myself, and often even though I know the diacritic marks are there I leave them out just to type faster.


It would be very frustrating when doing the French and Spanish courses if you were to lose a heart due to a wrong accent mark, especially if it's your last heart on the last sentence, so I think it would be too strict to mark it as wrong if a fada was left out. But I noticed when we leave out a fada in the Irish course, it just marks it as a typo. Maybe there should be a reminder of the importance of a fada instead?


another one is féar and feár (grass and man)


I see the word you mean haha. That is a very handy chart. The accent is very important, it can totally change the meaning.


The PDF link is broken, but the webpage is still there.

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